Clear and Present Danger
Directed by Phillip Noyce
Starring Harrison Ford, Willem Dafoe, Anne Archer
Paramount Home Entertainment
Released date: July 29, 2008
Filmed almost immediately following Patriot Games, Clear and Present Danger is the second of two Jack Ryan films starring Harrison Ford, but third overall and fourth in the series continuity. Confused yet? Don’t worry, it doesn’t really matter, aside from the fact that Ryan’s wife is pregnant in Patriot Games and their son is already a few years old in Clear and Present Danger.
The primary plot of the film revolves around a Mexican drug cartel, but given today’s political climate, the story can strike a deep chord with many people without looking for a literal representation. No, instead there are the ever-present themes of political corruption, double-dealing, secret government operations and abuse of power. In this particular case, we see a sitting President use the power of his office to settle a personal vendetta, paid for with the lives of American soldiers and promptly swept under the rug when things don’t go so well. Oh the irony. Overall, the story is better developed throughout CaPD than Patriot Games, and the characters are significantly more interesting.
The picture quality has been bumped up with the Blu-ray version, and unlike Patriot Games, there are enough scenes to benefit from it. Military combat, laser guided missiles, early 1900’s computer screens, all looking great in full 1080p. If you don’t own a large HDTV however, the differences may not be noticeable.
However, just like Patriot Games, CaPD suffers from an embarrassing lack of special features, containing only the theatrical trailer and a behind-the-scenes feature just like Patriot Games. For some reason, the Harrison Ford films have not been touched on much aside from their original productions. Sold as a separate film, this would almost be insulting to fans looking to upgrade because it shows the minimum amount of effort required for a release.
Sure, the movie looks great, and for the most part, people only really seem to care about the main feature itself. However Blu-ray really only has a small niche in the marketplace right now, and the technology required to truly enjoy the Blu-ray features really limits the number of potential buyers. Given the circumstance, you would think the producers would realize that only big movie fans that go for having the latest and greatest in tech are looking to buy these discs right now, so it would be in the best interest to spruce up the releases a bit, make them more than just a re-release of the DVD version with better picture quality (which only those with all the necessary fancy equipment can enjoy anyway). Someone with a PS3 and a 27 inch TV are not going to notice any difference in picture quality, and in that situation this version offers nothing else to warrant a $25 “upgrade.”
Picture Quality: A
Blu-Ray vs. DVD Benefits: Minimal